Garowe, Puntland, Somalia, February 2019 –  In Somalia, it is extremely rare to see a woman working in the construction industry. However nearly two thirds of the young people who have just graduated from a UN-Habitat training course in Puntland State of Somalia are young women. “Project Rajo” (Rajo is Somali for hope) was launched in three Somali cities - the capital Mogadishu, Garowe and Kismayo in the south -  in November 2018 to provide youth with construction, entrepreneurship, ICT and life skills training.

On 6 February, graduation certificates were awarded to 96 young people in Garowe – and 35 of them received job offers from local construction companies. The majority of those receiving job offers – 20 – were women.

The Puntland Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Mr. Abdirahman Barkhadle Warsame said: “the strong participation of women in Project Rajo is a remarkable milestone which creates role models for other women interested pursuing a career in the construction sector.”

One of the young women, Anfac Adan Abdi said she was extremely thankful for the project offering equal access for women in the construction industry.  “Project Rajo has given me important skills to succeed in the construction industry - but more importantly it has given me a chance to feel empowered and confident in a male dominated industry,” she said.

The project is being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Public Works, Reconstruction and Housing in partnership with regional and state governments of Puntland and Jubaland, UN-Habitat, UNOPS, funded by the African Development Bank.

“Women have a strong role to play in the reconstruction of Somalia, despite the barriers that exist. Programmes such as Project Rajo are essential in breaking down some of these barriers and advancing young people’s full participation in rebuilding their communities.” said Maimunah Mohd Sharif Executive Director of UN-Habitat.

Over the next months, a job fair will be organized in partnership with local construction companies and the Puntland Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.

See the previous story: Providing Somali Youth Hope Through Job Creation